Thursday, March 31, 2011


KUNG FU PANDA SUSHI BALL - a kung fu celebrational recipe for kids!

Kung Fu Panda, my all time favorite kid's cartoon movie is coming out with a sequel in June, 2011. Kung Fu Panda 2, - I can't wait! I'm throwing a Kung Fu party in it's honor. I so wanted to call this party dish "Panda Balls", but for the sake of a "G" rating (sorry the movie can't boast the same), we'll call it Kung Fu Panda Sushi Balls.

When the blessing of children was bestowed upon us, my husband and I relinquished control of all TV programing to the likes of Dora & Barney. I'm now pleased to say that my little viewers have reached an age of maturity were we can find mutual entertainment in family classics like Kung Fu Panda. This show is packed full of culture, artful graphics, brilliant musical scores, side-splitting humor and unparalleled wisdom. I've lost count of the number of times I've been forced to re-tweet insightful quotes from this film. One of favorites was issued by Master Ooguay: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called, the present." - savor it!

As a mom, nutrition is first and foremost, even when it comes to party fare. I'm always trying to introduce and incorporate new foods. I'm sure we are all aware of the health benefits of Nori, the eatable seaweed found in Sushi. If not, you can take a crash coarse with the Nutrition Diva. And when it comes to raising healthy kids, well as Po says, "It's gonna take a lot more than dew, and, uh, universe juice."

1 Cup Sushi Rice
8 oz. Chicken Tenders
2 Tbs. Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs. Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tbs. Sea Salt
Soy Sauce or Teriyaki for Dipping
Wasabi? - well, only if you're looking to invite the "Kaboom of Doom" into your mouth.

Our young chefs begin by adding 1 cup of Short Grain Sushi Rice into a small mixing bowl. They next add a generous amount of cool water. They swirl the rice in the water to rinse off the extra starch (this will prevent an unwanted "gummy" texture later). They drain the water off and repeat this process 3 to 4 times, or until the water becomes clear.

Our chefs strain the rice from the rinsing water and transfer it to a medium saucepan. They add 1 & 1/4 cup cool water to the rice. The supervising chef places the saucepan over high heat and brings it (uncovered) to a boil. Once it begins to boil the heat is reduced to the lowest setting and saucepan is covered. The rice is cooked for 20 minutes on low heat (do not lift the lid during cooking). It is then removed from the heat and allowed to stand (covered) for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, our chefs add 2 tbs. unseasoned Rice Vinegar to a small saucepan. To this they add 2 tbs. Granulated Sugar and 1/2 tbs. Sea Salt. The supervising chef warm the saucepan over low heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved into the vinegar.

Meanwhile, the 8 oz. of Chicken Tenders are sliced in 1/2 thick strips by the supervising chef. They are seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in a saute pan over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through (about 6 minutes per side).

Our young chefs are allowed to hone their (butter) knife skills as they cut the cooked chicken strips in to 1/2 inch cubes.

When the rice is done resting, it is transferred to a large glass baking dish. Our chefs pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the rice and "very gently" fold the rice to coat each grain. The rice is allowed to cool further to room temperature.

Our chefs spread a sheet of plastic wrap over a sushi mat. They mound 2 tbs. of the cooked sushi rice into the center. A piece of the cooked chicken is pressed slightly into the mound and covered with a bit more of the rice.

Our young chefs then gather the corners of the plastic wrap and twists to form a ball of rice with the chicken tucked neatly into the center.

Our chefs then unwrap the Sushi Ball and places it on a traditional sushi serving dish.

The sushi rice is extremely sticky at this stage. Our young chefs dip their fingers into a cup of cold water as needed to prevent the rice from sticking to their hands.

The supervising chef cuts a sheet of Nori into thin 1/4 inch strips.

Our young chef wraps each sushi ball with a nori strip.

These sushi balls are excellent dipped in a bit of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

We do hope your little ones enjoy this recipe and their introduction to Sushi! You will, of course, allow them an attempt at dipping and eating these delightful sushi balls with an authentic pair of chop sticks.

Enjoy! And as always, if you have a recipe or cooking project that was a winner with your child, please email it to me at:, and we hope to see you again soon at The Chef's Emporium.

Monday, January 31, 2011


HONEY WHEAT TOAST & TEA - an after school snack for kids.

Is there anything as wonderful as walking into a home that smells of freshly baked bread. It can even warm the cockles of shivering little January students, return home after a full day of school, seeking warmth, comfort and sustenance. While taking tea is not traditionally an American custom, it is earning welcome acceptance in our homes thanks to the efforts of more local tea shops like Teavana. If you have not been fortunate enough to sample their wares, I urge you check in with a fresh loose leaf tea supplier and treat yourself and your little ones to this naturally low calorie, antioxidant, stress reducing, delicious indulgence.

Toast & Tea, I marvel at what little effort it takes to turn Bread & Water - a beggar's meal, into a heavenly experience. While any artisan loaf purchased from your local baker should suffice, I wanted to allow my little chef to have a hands-on kitchen experience beyond the "play-dough". If you are purchasing an artisan loaf, you can freshen it in the oven by lightly dampening the crust with a spritz of water and placing it in a preheated 325º F oven until warmed through and crisp on the outside.

1/3 Cup lukewarm Water
4 tbs. Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Tbs. Honey
3 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
3/4 Cup chopped Walnuts
2 Cups White Wheat Flour
1 Cup Bread Flour
2 Tbs. Melted Butter

Our young chef begins by adding 1/3 cup lukewarm Water to a mixing bowl. The water must be warm enough to awaken the yeast, - but not too hot. The chef sprinkles in about a teaspoon of granulated sugar to feed the yeast.

The Yeast is allowed to "proof" for approximately 10 minutes. Eventually it will appear frothy and bubbly, confirming that it has become active.

While the yeast is proofing, the supervising chef adds 4 tablespoons of Butter and 1/2 cup Milk to a small sauce pan and stirs over low heat until the butter is melted. Note: allow this mixture to cool to lukewarm before adding to the yeast.

By cradling an egg in one hand, and rapping it gently with spoon, our young chef cracks an egg. The supervising chef carries out the separation of the shell halves. In this way, the young chef is able to participate in the addition of the eggs to the recipe, without the addition of egg shell to the mixture.

1 teaspoon of Salt, 3 tablespoons of Sugar & 1 tablespoon of Honey is added to the mixture.

The yeast mixture is stirred to combine all ingredients.

Our chef finely chops 3/4 cup of Walnuts and folds them into the mixture.

2 cups of White Wheat Flour & 1 cup of Bead Flour is measured and added until a doughy ball is formed inside the bowl.

The supervising chef turns the dough out onto a lightly floured working surface and kneads (~ 10 minutes) until smooth and elastic. Our young chef adds pinches of bench flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.

Our chef brushes a large bowl with 1 tablespoons of melted butter, transfers the dough to the buttered bowl and brushes the top with another 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter. He then covers the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and lets it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Our chef then punches down the dough, re-covers it and lets it rise until doubled in bulk again, about 1 hour.Our supervising chef punches down the dough, and turns it out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough is flatten with the chef's hands and rolled out to a 10-by-8 inch rectangle. Starting from the short end, the chef rolls the dough into a snug log. The ends and pinched well to seal. The loaf is set, seam side down, into a prepared loaf pan. It is covered and allowed to rise for 35 minutes. The top is glazed with the remain 1/2 tbs. melted butter. Bake the loaf at 350º F for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. After baking, the loaf is turned out and allowed to cool on a wire rack. Makes one 9"x 5" loaf.
Please, enjoy. As always, if you have a recipe or cooking project that was a winner with your child, please email it to me at:, and we hope to see you again soon at The Chef's Emporium.